So the silly season is here again and there is bound to be lots of boozing and cruising.
As we all know alcohol tends to influence our decisions, and generally not in a positive way. By now we are all aware of the risks of unprotected sex, but sometimes in the heat of the moment we disregard those risks.
So what happens in the cold light of day when you stumble out of bed (yours or someone else’s) and search around for that packet of Panadol? Do you think to yourself “Fuck! What did I do last night?” If this sounds familiar then it might be a good idea to stick this article to the fridge.
Whether you had a slip up, or the condom broke, it’s a good idea to know what to do in the event that you may have picked up something. So if you think you may have been exposed to an STI here are some good next steps.
Firstly, it never hurts to have a conversation with your sexual partner about when their last tests were and what the results were. They may tell you that their results were negative. However it is important to remember that HIV tests can only tell you that you were negative 6 -12 weeks ago (depending on where you get tested). Therefore if your partner was tested recently it is still not certain that at the time of your encounter he was still HIV negative.
However, it might be the case that your partner tells you that he is HIV positive. If this happens it is important to be respectful of his feelings. Telling someone you are HIV positive takes great courage. Our web series Queer as FxxK explores this issue in the episode: Dumb Fuck (Link to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIgVGt1Mvq4&list=PL94DCD6FB21B43CDA&index=6&feature=plpp_video)
However, regardless of the outcome of the discussion, if there is a chance you have been exposed to HIV then contact the 24 hour PEP Info Line on 1800 889 887. They will ask you some questions about the specifics of your encounter so that they can give you the best information and referrals. If they think there is a chance you have been exposed to HIV they will refer you to a hospital to access the PEP drugs. It is important that you access PEP within 72 hours of exposure (the sooner the better), so don’t wait till the Panadole kicks in to call!
Lastly book yourself into a sexual health clinic (link to: www.thedramadownunder.info/clinics/) and get tested. It is important to remember that results will only be given in person regardless of the result.
So here is your complete morning after guide, should things not go to plan. Hopefully though you will have stayed safe all through the holiday period.
By ILAN WERBELOFF
Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Men’s Health Centre